Sunday, March 11, 2012

CQJP 2012 February Block

I have finished my February block for the CQJP 2012. It is as much of a surprise to me as it is to you. With each decision I make some new thing emerges. I'm not experienced enough with CQ to have an idea before hand of what the block is going to be. There may come a time when I plan (map, diagram) the block beforehand but for now,it is really fun, exciting and a little magical.

February CQJP 2012 Block
 Part of the magic, for me, is that it all depends on what is in your stash and what jumps to the hand to be used. Accumulating stash is one of my favorite activities.  Money is not plentiful enough for me to buy for each project as it occurs. I am not usually able to make large investments in stash. Rather, I take advantage of thrift stores, garage sales, and repurposing.

I talked about how the fabric for each of these blocks is from table linens collected. The lace is all found treasure. The large blue flowers are from a lei that was 29 cents. Even the yo-yos were bought at a thift store. There was a small bag of them for $1.99. The small butterfly was crocheted from a blue and white varigated 30 weight ball of thread from the thrift store. I also have a pink and white, yellow and white, and green and white that I have a feeling you will be seeing more of. I will probably add another 2 or three butterflies to this block as I get them crocheted.  The heart pattern was found on the internet for free.

I will concede that the threads were bought new, but they were not bought for this project.  There was a sale and I stocked up on stash. I have limited supplies that are hard from this project, but the buttons on my ort bags were collected from the thrift store and so was the sewing thread.  Last time I went to Joann's I bought a spool of all purpose white sewing thread for $2.49.  How I appreciate the gallon zip log bag of Gutermann thread for $5.00 that I found last year. Even the decorator fabric used on my turtle was from the thrift store.Well I am posting this at the end of the first full day of Daylight Savings time. I better close up shop and go to bed.  It a work day tomorrow.

Turtle the Pin Cushion

Those that follow me know that I belong to a group named Stitchmap. Our February challenge was to make a Turtle Pin Cushion.  The tutorial was provided by Kathy Shaw of  It was an adorable project and I had a lot of fun making it.

Turtle the Pin Cushion
I have been sewing quite a bit lately.  I did this Turtle, my Purple Travelling Bag with it's sewing accessories, some Ort Bags, Business Card Holders, pieced my 12 blocks for the CQJP2012 project

Somewhere in all of this, I have been making friends with my Sewing Machine. I have a simple Brother model.  I am not skilled enough to warrant any bells and whistles.

These days, I barely have to think to wind a bobbin or replace the bobbin.  I can change thread and rethread the needle easily.  I am getting the hang of curved seams. I can eyeball when it is the correct time to rotate the fabric for a direction change. I am confident when I change a straight stitch to a zig zag stitch and back again. 

The turtle presented a challenge in getting the seams correct on the small curving seams of the appendages.  Someone even told me that know one would know if I sewed those seams by hand.  I persevered but next time I might just give that a go.

The ort bags gave me a little trouble on the points of the triangle.  I needed to be able to push the fabric through the feeders at the place where there was not much fabric for the feeders to grab.  I know there is a tool for this.  I used my scissors because they were at hand.

There are two other issues.  First, I have not yet changed the needle.  I keep thinking that I should, but so far, there hasn't been any problems with the needle that is in it.  Second, I should have changed the presser foot for the top stitching on the ort bags but I wasn't sure which foot it was.  But the point is - I am using my machine and I am learning how to use it.

My New Ort Bags

I have been using my new Purple Travelling Bag of sewing accessories to take a project with me when I leave the house. I always have something that I can do with those random moments when I am waiting or between tasks. I was able to find a tool set to add to my kit that seemed to be just the right thing. The Donna Dewberry 12 in 1 tool even came in purple. It seemed that it was "meant" to be (or at least I could justify the purchase).

But taking this kit with me to work and waiting rooms, I knew I was still missing a vital component. What could I be missing, you ask? The answer is an ort bag. What is an ort, you ask?  Meriam-Webster defines ort as a noun that came into being around 1500 A.D. that means "scrap" but I personally like the definition that can be found at Needle

Everywhere I go I am looking for a place to put the little left over pieces of thread. I haven't been keeping them but rather just throwing them in the trash. I have changed my mind, however, because in addition to the tidiness issue there have been several times when I needed a piece of thread for just a stitch or two. I've also heard suggestions that the thread pieces can be used to create new fabric, fill a clear ornament and be used in tassels.

What to do with these thread pieces is not a new problem.  Needleworkers have always faced this dilemna and there have been some creative solutions proposed. Mary Corbet at Needle'nThread has a cute blog entry about those pesky pieces that I enjoyed reading. I was able to find a popular style of ort bag from The Scarlet Thread, and Merriment Design. I also found some for sale at and and at Nordic Needle available for around $20. 

Triangular Thread Catcher or Ort Bag
But it was the Triangular Thread Catcher at Needling Things that I knew I had to make.  I saw a picture of this on the Internet and it was my friends at StitchMap that located the tutorial.  I made two of them this afternoon.  The instructions were clear and easy to follow.  I think that this may have been one of the easier sewing projects I have done. It was also very appealing in that I could make one to match my new Purple Travelling Bag.

I have to laugh.  I am remembering a discussion on a newsgroup a few years ago where the name for these left over pieces of thread was a topic for debate.  We had our "Ort" camp but there were also some "Snippet" followers.  Humorously we agreed, that at least for a little while and among ourselves, they would be known as Snorts!